As automotive purists, we have a quiet fear of the rise of the all-electric vehicles overcoming the rest of the automotive industry thus rendering what we know and love obsolete. I can give examples of cars and more specifically certain brands that put our beloved fossil fuel guzzling machines in danger of exile, but that would be like reading a Stephen King book to a child as a bedtime story when they were expecting something more along the lines of a Dr. Seuss story. Instead, I want to tell you about a line of cars that was introduced to me just recently.
A few days ago, a friend of mine named Brennan who works at Audi Mission Viejo, told me I should check out an event they were hosting at the dealership. I always look for an excuse to get out of the house and participate in car-related activities, but Mission Viejo is a solid trek from where I work in West Hollywood. Before I made any kind of decision to go, Brennan sent me the flyer, which read [e-tron®] in big, bright font. My first reaction was to say, “No thanks.” After thinking about it a bit more, I figured I might as well give the future a chance since everyone else always has positive things to say about hybrids and all-electric vehicles.
Upon arrival I could see an SUV inside that almost resembled a Lamborghini Urus but seemingly with the front fascia of an Audi R8. I walked in the showroom and liked the way it looked upon second glance, which is usually a good sign. Brennan came over to me and showed me around the two e-tron® SUVs. After a quick look, I asked Brennan about what other cars to be released in the e-tron® line and he told me about the e-tron® GT and the PB18.
The e-tron® GT is essentially the Audi version of the Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the “Mission E.” The PB18 is a ‘7-figure’, all-electric hypercar that is named after its unveiling at Pebble Beach ’18 during Monterey Car Week.
Audi e-tron® SUV
After being informed about the other models in the e-tron® line up, I got inside the SUV and started to fiddle around the interior; to be greeted by a fully digital screen dash as well as dual screens in the center for the infotainment system.
The virtual cockpit sits in front of the driver to replace the instrument cluster with digital displays. At the centre of the dashboard in the central column are two 7.0-inch OLED screens, one which deals with the info-tainment and navigation at the top of the dashboard and one lower down that deals secondary things such as climate control and other comfort features.
Being in the fully-optioned Prestige model, I was expecting a lot from Audi and they did not disappoint. Massage seats with heating and ventilation, heads up display, and a 3-D, 16-loudspeaker, 705 watts, Bang and Olufsen Premium Sound System just to name a few of the features in this eco-friendly luxury mobile. The control knob felt very ergonomic with a resting place for your hand so comfortable you would think Audi had a mini couch in mind when they designed that part of the interior. Everything inside the e-tron® SUV felt great.
After enjoying my time in the interior, I stepped out to admire the exterior a little more. This time I noticed the massive brakes, which are regenerative and presumably very effective even on a vehicle that will most likely weigh well over 5,000 pounds.
Brennan told me that the SUV comes standard with adaptive air suspension, which I would guess is similar to the system in the Bentley Bentayga. He also demonstrated the soft-close doors. There’s nothing that beats that feature when it comes to luxury car party tricks!
Live Sushi Action
After some sushi, courtesy of Audi Mission Viejo, I spoke with the general manager of the dealership, Luke Muncy. He asked me how I liked the car and I told him how I was skeptical at first, but that the e-tron® SUV actually impressed me. It surpasses the competition in quality and it doesn’t seem like a smug EV that is trying to make you feel bad about polluting the ozone layer. Luke told me that it’s simply an Audi that happens to be all-electric, not the other way around. He also made it clear that the e-tron® line is not here to replace anything, it’s just an addition to the Audi line-up.
The home charging capsule is included and can fully charge the Audi e-tron® battery in about 9 hours from a 240 volt/50 amp outlet with a NEMA14-15 plug. Audi is collaborating with Amazon Home Services so you can get simple, fast outlet installation. You can now get access to over 15,000 public charging stations with over 39,000 public outlets.
Audi e-tron® SUV Models
Premium Plus – $74,800 standard equipped:
- 20-inch wheels w/ all-season tires
- Top view camera system with front & rear parking sensors
- Available cold weather package
- Audi side assist w/ cross-traffic alert
- Full LED exterior + interior lighting
- MMI Navigation plus w/ MMI touch response
- 3D 705W B&O Sound w/16 speakers
- Audi phonebox + smartphone interface
- 12-way power front seats, heated + cooled
- Adaptive air suspension
- Panoramic sunroof w/ electric sunshade
- Illuminated aluminum door sills
- Available trailer hitch preparation
- Integrated toll module
- 9.6 kW mobile charging capsule
- Available driver assistance package
Prestige – $81,800 equipped as Premium Plus + additional features:
- Head-up display
- Driver Assistance package
- Individual Contour front seats with massage
- Power-door closers
- Rear window sunshades
- Dual-pane acoustic front side windows
- Valcona Leather + extended leather
- Memory for front passenger seat
- Air quality package + ionizer
- Available 21″ wheels with All-Season Tires
First Edition – $ P.O.A.
Audi e-tron® Edition One is being launched in the US in limited quantities. Only 999 units are available. The e-tron® Edition One is based on the Prestige trim + additional equipment:
- Daytona Grey Pearl Effect exterior paint
- 21-inch bi-color Black Edition One wheels, All-Season tires
- Aluminum-Optic exterior trim
- Dynamic orange painted brake calipers
- Black Valcona leather interior with gray contrast stitching
- Volcano Gray Ash Natural Wood inlays
- LED puddle lamp “edition one” projection
- Night Vision Assistant
- Cold Weather Package
I feel that it has a special place in the market where petrolheads with a the right budget and a need for a daily driver SUV, as well as soccer moms who want to be massaged and not listen to engine noise on their way around town after they drop off the kids, can both be satisfied.
Whether you enjoy weekend canyon drives in your Audi R8 or you enjoy an Uber ride home after a long weekend of wine tasting, the e-tron® is going to be the perfect luxury work horse you can count on to take care of you and the family during the week, guilt free and worry free.